Learning reflections week of April 10

Inspired by Harold Jarche and David Kelly, my goal is to post weekly some key experiences and learnings from the past week.

Grass roots Social Media to save County Libraries

Friday April 8, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners announced a proposal to close 13 of 17 libraries in a county of 700,000. This proposal was a response to the local  budget crisis. That day a Facebook page appeared titled “Save Cobb Libraries.” On Monday morning there was less than 1,000 likes. The page was a call to action to communicate your opposition and attend the Tuesday, April 12 9 AM Commission meeting. By Tuesday, the page jumped to 3000+ likes, a Twitter account (@keeplibraryopen) and a silent read-in protest across from where the commission meets. This effort led to 4,000 e-mails to the commission and 200+ library supporters in attendance according to the live blogging from the event. The commission voted to keep all the branches open and look at other approaches. My role – passing along to friends, neighbors and colleagues in the County.  Best I can tell, five participated and shared with their networks.

What I learned – the FB community did a great job of moderating the comments when the anti-tax, anti-government, anti-Republican (Cobb is very Republican) crowd became shrill. The effort didn’t turn into a shouting match about money but one of the value of libraries.

ELG Online Forums – Rapid Authoring Tools and Design Approaches

The mostly monthly two day sessions from the E-learning Guild  offer great insights, tips and techniques from fellow professionals. These forums do have a cost that I feel is well worth the additional investment. The Guild has a growing archive of who’s who presenters in our field. Last week’s sessions offered an  approach to rapid analysis with Michael Noble and Michael Hassett,  Allen Communications; applying Nancy Duarte’s Slide:ology in rapid design with Laura Fried and Ethan Waldman, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters; and Thiagi and Tracy Tagliati, The Thiagi Group, on a faster, cheaper and better approach to design.

From Allen Communications – a modified SWOT is their pragmatic tool for a quick analysis across seven people and a variety of voices in 2-3 hours. The team from Green Mountain reminded us that sculpting is 90% destructive and we should keep that in mind as we chose and design our visuals. Secondly, use brainstorming find better descriptors to avoid cliche images/graphics. Thiagi introduced the Four Door model for elearning –  library,  playground, cafe and assessment  (or torture center, his words). Tip – start with the assessment center first, then build the others. Six secrets – learner control, design activities not content (content goes into the library), don’t reinvent the wheel, open minds with open questions, blend everything and start with one question then add more.

Big History –  TED Talks

The Big History project is aimed at high school students to “foster a greater love of learning.” In eighteen minutes, David Christian narrates a history of the universe. Collective learning is what sets us apart from other species. We can share our learning over time and then develop technologies that continue to give our species an advantage. “Collective learning is a very powerful force and it’s not clear that we humans are in charge of it,” as he references nuclear weapons and fossil fuel burning. Hopefully through collective learning we can appreciate complexity and fragility as well as the dangers we can pose to our planet. You should subscribe to TED.

#NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement

This viral twitter meme started by Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) after his program on Monday April 11. Jon Kyle (Arizona Republican senator) misrepresented the abortion statistics from Planned Parenthood stating that 90% of what the group does is abortion. The actual number is 3%. Rather that saying the the Senator misspoke, a staffer “clarified” that it was “not intended to be a factual statement.” The meme continues to date and I had over 900 RSS in the reader before killing the feed. Lesson – be truthful, those bytes of info will be out there forever. Had Kyle admitted he mixed up some numbers, this story probably would have died. The world is full of clever, smart (ass) and connected people. One of my favorites:

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